If your vehicle has alerted you that your tire’s air pressure is low, you may have a couple of questions. How does my vehicle know the tire pressure is low? What tire is being problematic? Do I need to put air in my tire or do I need a new tire? Let's go through these questions and give you some answers.
If your low tire pressure light comes on in your car, it’s using something called TPMS. That stands for Tire Pressure Monitoring System, and most newer cars are equipped with it. Your car’s computer monitors tire pressure and will turn on a dashboard light if the pressure gets low. That orange/yellow light looks similar to an upside-down horseshoe with an exclamation point in the center.
How to figure out which tire it is
If you read our blog post on essential items to keep in your car, you know that you should have a little air pressure sensor in your glovebox. (If not, go get one! They’re inexpensive and invaluable.) Grab your sensor and check all of your tires. If you’re not sure what the number on the pressure sensor should be, there’s an easy way to learn.
Find out what your ideal tire pressure PSI (pounds per square inch) is from your owner’s manual or the sticker inside the driver’s side door frame. Once you know what it should be, you can use your air pressure sensor to find out which tire is low. Reinflate your tire(s) to the recommended PSI if they’re low. Gas stations have free air hoses you can use.
Need a new tire?
If you get a tire pressure warning from your car more than once in a short period of time, you may have an issue with your tire that needs help from a professional. If you have a slow leak, the tire tech can find the leak and patch it fairly quickly. If your tire was punctured and is not repairable, you may need a new tire. Similarly, your rim might be bent or damaged and could be causing your tire to lose air pressure. If that’s the case, you’ll need to repair or replace it.
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